Last night put the full brutality of mixed martial arts on display with Cory Sandhagen knocking out Frankie Edgar with a jumping knee to the jaw just twenty-eight seconds into the first round last night at UFC Las Vegas 18. For a great warrior like Edgar it was disappointing image of him just laid flat out on the octagon canvas. At 39 and still ranked fourth in the world at bantamweight Edgar has had an incredible run over the last decade. It is amazing that he still was in the title picture up until last night. I remember Edgar coming up the ranks in the 2000’s as a Rutgers University assistant wrestling coach and a four time NCAA Nationals qualifier from Clarion University. He showed himself as a serious contender with a victory over former champion Sean Sherk before upsetting BJ Penn for the lightweight title in 2010 before repeating the feat in their rematch.
As a boxing guy and a Jersey guy I feel Edgar is the closest thing to Arturo Gatti that we have seen in MMA. They have the Jersey connection and compete at a similar weight and are extremely exciting competitors. Gatti went to war in the 90’s and 2000’s against a deep field of competition and put on some of the best fights in the last thirty years for boxing. Edgar made his name in two wars to defend his lightweight crown against Gray Maynard. Edgar was rocked badly in the opening round of their two title tilts and barely survived. Their first title fight was ruled a draw while Frankie would go on to stop Maynard in the fourth round . He was an expert wrestler but worked in his stand up to trade with larger men. It is incredible to think about the fact that he won the title at 155 pounds and then moved down two weight classes and still is world class this many years later in 2021.
His two consecutive decision losses to Benson Henderson where he lost his title were fairly controversial. He showed his massive heart again when he was nearly knocked out by a brutal up kick but fought on until the final horn. He went on to give Jose Aldo a very difficult fight in a five round battle in 2013 and scored a massive left hook KO of Chad Mendez and defeated legend Uriah Faber in 2015. He also defeated Charles Oliveira who is a leading lightweight contender and main stays of the UFC in Cub Swanson twice Jeremy Stevens while losing to champions Brian Ortega by KO and Max Holloway by decision. Edgar has always been in the mix for the last decade and it is a shame he never was able to get a fight with Conor McGregor or TJ Dillashaw because I think they would have been a lot of fun. Hats off to Edgar whether he retires or goes on this is how I choose to remember him: